Yes, yes, José Olivarez was in the house this week! You might not remember this Harvard grad from before he was a published Breakbeat poet and the program director for Urban Word NYC, but José was sweet enough to call his feature last night at the Cantab a kind of homecoming –and to work the crowd with his pithy craft just as we’d expect from somebody who knows the ins and outs of the venue. He even brought us a personalized chapbook just for this show: if you bought it, remember that you get a discount on Home Court, his full-length work, available on his website.
Okay, but now for some really real talk: have you ever stayed for the open slam at the Cantab? It starts around 11pm and a lot of the audience clears out after chatting with the feature… But it’s one of the most unpredictably exciting parts of the evening, and last night was no exception. As we count down the last few open slams to Team Selection Slams, the competition gets fiercer and fiercer. Telling you that Jess Riz crashed through three rounds this week to defeat opponent Colin Killick in the finals doesn’t do the night justice; next week, you might want to stick around.
Next week, by the way, after our famed open mic and our wild slam, will be Philadelphia feature Lauren Yates, NPS 2015 semi-finalist and all-around badass. See you there!